04 June 2010

McFadyen Part 12

My previous post here outlined my ancestor identification problem, despite having a rather serendipitous resource to work with. For those who have satisfactorily identified an ancestor in the 1776 list for the Isle of Coll, a bigger leap is back to 1716, the next list (of adult males). That’s a duration of sixty years, about two generations.

How likely is it that an adult male in 1716 would be present in 1776? Um ... only if he were about 75 years old or over, right?! More likely that one of the McFadyens in 1716 was the father or even the grandfather of one of the parent candidates of 1776, of my Donald-the-pensioned-soldier.

Personal names of my Donald’s sons are all I have to make rather wild speculations. They were:
Lachlan (1798), Angus (1801), Roderick (ca.1802), Hector (ca.1809), John (1816), Donald (ca.1818).

The 1716 list for the Isle of Coll was created following the successful suppression of the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion.[1] The Sheriff of Argyll and his assistants tallied and supervised the disarming of male inhabitants in his districts, including the western islands. The surrender of Maclean officers on Coll took place at Breacachadh Castle. The result listed all males of military age on Coll whether they had taken part in the rebellion or not. One of those McFadyens in 1716 was almost certainly my ancestor. Who were the men? As distilled (without the slight notations), the list shows:[2]

Donald Mcphaden at Breckachie [Breacachadh];
Angus Mcphaden, a confessed rebel sick at ffell [Feall];
• Hugh Roy Mcffaden at ffell;
Angus McPhaden in Breckachie;
Angus Mcffaden his son at ffell;
• Charles Roy (ruadh) at Ardnish.

All of these men were located in proximity to the Maclean castle stronghold, supporting their historical allegiance to Maclean of Coll and some, no doubt, members of his traditional bodyguard. 

What can I tell from this list? Going by naming customs alone, one of those four men (in bold) could be my Donald’s grandfather, or even great-grandfather. The names Hugh and Charles did not pass down in my line. None of the three candidates for Donald’s parents in 1776 lived in one of those mentioned townships, and one candidate was deceased at the time, forever un-named. Because parish recording virtually begin in 1776, there is no way to attempt true analysis in the depths of the eighteenth century. The fragments of parish entries 1733-1735, when patronymics were still being used sporadically, are not of help.  

Trying to make rational hypotheses in eighteenth century Collach families is where the proverbial brick meets wall. Too many gaps for reasonable connections. Some of that vaunted Highland oral family history would be welcome right about now. Oh, where to find a genuine McFadyen sennachie?

[1] Nicholas Maclean-Bristol, editor, Inhabitants of the Inner Isles Morvern and Ardnamurchan, 1716 (Edinburgh:  Scottish Record Society, 1998), 164-166. The source of the list is in Sheriff  Court Records of Argyll, SC 54/22/54, National Archives of Scotland.
[2] Maclean-Bristol, “Special MacFadyen Issue,” West Highland Notes & Queries, Series 3, No. 5, November 2002, 4.

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